‘My hero dogs helped me walk again and gave me confidence to get a divorce’

A woman has told how her dogs saved her from being paralysed and even gave her the confidence to get a divorce.

Alison Skillin is a 42-year-old woman from Scotland who suffered from fibromyalgia. Later due to complications she became completely paralysed in all four limbs.

However, her rescue dog Icy, an Alaskan Malamute helped teach her how to walk again and repeatedly helped her get back on her feet whenever she fell.

Alison feels that she wouldn't be here if not for the support from her three incredible rescue dogs, Icy, Bear and Monk.

She toldTeamDogs: “My three heroes have all played an important part in my life.”

Shiba Inu Cross Monk gave Alison the confidence to leave her unhappy marriage and is now trained to bring her medication, and even knows how to call 999.

Alison describes Monk as “goofy, always smiling and the funniest dog I’ve ever owned.”

Alison has suffered from Fibromyalgia, a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body, since 1998. In 2002, she moved from Arizona to Scotland, and six years later, she rescued Alaskan Malamute Icy.

In 2010, Alison became heavily disabled following complications with Double Pneumonia, which resulted in her being placed in a coma, and waking up paralysed in all four limbs.

Amazingly, Icy taught Alison to walk again and repeatedly got her back on her feet when she fell.

“I found that Icy wanted to help me but he didn’t know how. So, I read up about assistance dogs and began to train him,” Alison said. “I credit him with teaching me how to walk again. He gave me my independence back.”

When Icy passed away in 2013, Alison found herself bereft of not just her best friend, but also her mobility partner. A year later, Alison found a young rescue Alaskan Malamute Crossbreed, Bear.

His job became more complex than Icy’s, as Alison had started to go blind and also began suffering with seizures.

“Bear did everything for me. He dealt with all my needs, from opening doors to bringing my medication and even unloading the washing machine,” Alison said. “He was my partner in everything.”

Alison’s favourite pastime is watching films and going to the cinema – but her seizures and the bright lights made that difficult.

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“Bear would give me alerts if I needed to look away from the screen. He’d put his paws up and block my vision if the scene was distressing or could trigger my seizures.

“He was amazing and I miss him so much.”

In 2019, Alison got Shiba Inu Cross Monk, and Bear taught Monk how to do everything.

Alison describes Monk as “goofy, always smiling and the funniest dog I’ve ever owned.”

When Bear sadly passed away, Monk inspired Alison to change her life. He made it possible for Alison to leave her unhappy marriage and file for divorce.

“Monk gave me the confidence to live by myself. I knew that with him, I could do it on my own. He kept me sane.”

Monk is trained for guide work and even knows how to call 999 if Alison needs help.

“I have a Mobile Emergency Care Service installed at home, with a button for Monk to press and dial 999,” Alison said.

What’s more, Monk has his own MedicAlert ID, which is invaluable to Alison, as it contains her extensive medical records. In an emergency, Monk would run to get help or alert emergency services to Alison’s medical ID tag which sits on his collar.

A combination of Monk and her medical ID bracelet gives Alison endless confidence to live independently. She now speaks regularly in the UK and Scottish parliament to advocate for people with disabilities.

“I wouldn’t be here today without my dogs. I was wheelchair-bound when I came home from hospital, and between the three of them, they’ve rehabilitated me,” Alison said.

“My three heroes have all played an important part in my life.”

You can follow Alison’s campaign on herwebsiteandFacebook page .

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